I took the BEC exam last week and was given the noteboards and markers. The Prometric employees declined my request for paper and pencil. They also told me this was a NASBA policy, not a Prometric policy. The noteboards aren't so bad (whatever), but the markers are a pain. They smear, and they dry out quickly so you are constantly cap off, cap on, cap off, cap on. I actually had one of the markers dry up on me when I neglected to put the cap back on over some period of time. Couldn't tell you how much time since I was trying to concentrate on the exam, rather than the markers. It's a minor distraction, but probably an unnecessary distraction.
I had the same experience as Mich when I took FAR last week. Sometimes there wasn't any ink coming out of the markers and I would be “that guy” shaking the markers or scribbling in the corners of the note board in the way that you try to get a dying pen to work… but even so, it was just a really unnecessary distraction.
Forgot to add a note about this in my BEC exam experience thread:
I didn't mind the marker and laminated paper at all. Mine was graph paper, which I liked. My fine-tipped markers worked great and I only used 1.5 full pieces of the sheets (they gave me 2).
I took BEC last week and honestly did not have any problems with the marker and laminated paper and did not have any difference in performance compared to REG and AUD that I took last year with pencil and paper. I filled up maybe one whole page with some scribbles and calculations.
I actually liked having a writing utensil with a cap that I could take on and off while I sat and thought about some of the questions. I know it sounds weird but I found it to be helpful for me.
Not my favorite, but you have to do what you have to do. You can use the online spreadsheet for the SIMS if you need to.
I may be alone in this, but I loved using the marker and laminated papers. Writing during the exam was very smooth, the markers just glided across the sheet.. If I ran out of room I raised my hand, and they brought me more sheets. At least for me, this change is a keeper.
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